Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Temporary Visitor

I took advantage of the last warm day of fall to do some yard clean up.  Both wheel barrows were stored away, the rabbit wire was rolled up and stashed, garden tools and hose guides were collected, cleaned and put away.  Our unheated breezeway was swept, and the glass doors were shut for the season. And that is when I heard the high pitched squeaking.

Anyone who has heard it before knows exactly what I am talking about.  We had a bat.  It had decided to spend the day wedged between the glass doors and the screens of our breezeway, and since I was shutting the entire system up for the year, the bat had to go.  Using a clever system of shoeboxes and miss dig flags, P and I were able to remove the bat from our screen door.

I didn't want to leave him outside during the day as there are at least two very good varmint hunting cats in our neighborhood. (The chipmunk massacre of 2008 is unlikely to be forgotten around here).  So I put him in a shoebox, and brought him inside until dusk arrived.

At sunset the entire box was left outside, and a few hours later the bat was safely on his way.

I am hoping that he will remember this kindness and come visiting in the summer.  We need all the help we can get with the mosquitos - they are nearly as big as he is!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

From Autumn to Winter

How an entire month can go by with little notice is beyond me, but here we are - the end of November.  Michigan experienced an incredibly long autumn this year, and now the weather has changed and the mercury has dipped. Ice sits at the edges of my driveway and when I take the kitchen compost bin outside I can feel the frozen-heaved soil crunch and settle beneath my feet.

Christmas knitting has begun in earnest now, really at the last possible moment for the amount of Christmas knitting I feel needs to be done. Some projects will get done this year. Some may need to be saved for next year, and I am trying to knit out of my stash.  I have one Brother-in-law with very long feet who apparently dreams of handknit socks.  Not this year I am afraid.  I have yarn for him, but not the time to get the socks done.  That project will be a labor of love.

Snow has started to fly, and we are restocked on firewood and birdseed, both essential items for my winter happiness.

I have bombed out of NaNoSweMo with flying colors.  But I will keep plugging away at my sweater, because what is better than an alpaca sweater in the depth of winter?  It is heaven to knit, but it is time to think of others.

One of my new guilty pleasures is introducing my Knit Night friends to my guilty pleasures - beautiful films (I hate chick flicks, but the term is almost applicable in this context) with escapist plots.  Cold Comfort Farm, Pride & Prejudice (BBC/A&E), and A Room with a View (surprising amounts of full frontal male nudity) (hi dad!).

If you have an recommendations for films to add to my list, please let me know.  My loose requirements are:

1. must be beautiful to watch, but not require constant attention. (I love Amelie, but it is hard to work on deadline knitting while reading subtitles).

2. escapist plot.

3. readily available.  I have access to Netflix and their instant downloads, plus a kick-ass library system.

I also deploy countermeasures to make sure we don't overdose on happy endings.  Ab Fab provides some vicious comic relief.  And I am debating over Out of Africa - is syphilis and the death of a main character too much for light and fluffy Knit Night?

Ideas? Suggestions? Please pass them on!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Year of My Sister's Christmas Socks

For nearly a year I have had a project hanging over my head, waiting to be finished - my sister's Xmas socks of 2009.  My dear, sweet sister has often asked for socks for her birthday or Christmas, and I have always tried to oblige.

K1P1 ribbing - 6 1/2 inches
Last year she wanted knee highs.  Actually, knee + highs.  So, while at Rhinebeck she picked out an incredible shade of near-neon red from Creatively Dyed Yarns.  Despite having over 500 yards of yarn, I was still concerned that I might not have enough yardage, so I added in some extra sock yarn leftover from another project.  I got the yarn mid-October.  I started the socks at the end of November.  By Christmas both socks were halfway done, that is, they were normal sock size.  I wrapped them up, needles and all, and gave them to my sister.  Then I had her try them on and return them to me.  And so they sat, and sat, and sat. I had to work out the calf increases.  And while my sister has feet nearly the same size as mine, her calves are just on a different scale than mine.

Opal Toes and Heels - Judy's Magic Cast on and Short Row heels
I studied her measurements carefully, calculated ease, checked my gauge over and over.  And I hope I got it right.  Because as of October 1, I picked up the challenge to finish my sister's Xmas Socks (2009), preferably before Thanksgiving.  And yesterday, October 31, 2010 I finished my sister's socks.

Knee + High Xmas Socks.

And no, I am not giving them to her for Christmas this year.  She will be receiving them once they are blocked....however long that takes!

Pattern: Improvised
Yarn: Creatively Dyed Yarn, steele.  Red. 510 yards per skein.  Opal Uni Solid, in fuschia.
Needles: 2.25 mm and size 2.5 mm.  From toes to mid calf - on two circs. From calf increases to ribbing, magic loop.